Walk 1047 - printer friendly version
Abbotsham Cliff beach and Kipling's Tor, Westward Ho! Walk
Author - The Pig on the Hill
Length - 3.5 miles / 5.7 km
Ascent - 300 feet / 91 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference SS426282
Lat 51.031552 + Long -4.2460888
Postcode EX39 5AH (approx. location only)
This walk along the North Devon Coast includes a section of the South West Coast National Trail. The route follows paths and lanes so a stout pair of walking shoes is not essential but, when wet, you might be glad of them. A waterproof jacket is always advisable. Remember this is the Atlantic coast after all. Route finding is straightforward and you might wish to explore away from the route as described.
Begin the walk at the entrance to the Pig on the hill driveway. Turn left up the country lane and cross the stile on your left. Continue through two fields and then turn left onto the lane. Follow this down the hill and up the other side. At the next junction turn right (un-signposted) and follow the lane towards the sea. By now you should be feeling the sea breeze (or howling wind). There is a gate to lean on up ahead perfectly positioned to enjoy the view.
Continue along the lane to Abbotsham Court. Turn right on the paved lane towards the beach. At the end, turn left over a stile. Follow the path towards the sea, kinking to the right as you come over the brow of the hill. Lundy is ahead, Clovelly and Hartland Point are to the left, and Baggy Point is on the right.
In the 1920s, the valley below was home to Shebberton race course 'the most beautifully situated racecourse in England'. At the bottom of the hill, cross the stile to Abbotsham Cliff beach. The gullies and crevices of this beach are home to lobster, shrimp and Conger eels, with occasional visits from porpoises and seals.
Turn right and follow the coast path with the sea on your left. The path here follows the course of the old Bideford to Westward Ho! railway. Built in 1901, the cuttings were blasted through the rock. This stretch is long and straight and the walking easy.
The village of Westward Ho! Soon comes into view. On your right is Kipling Tor, which is names after the Jungle Book author, Rudyard Kipling, whose schooldays here in the 1870s inspired his novel Stalky and co.
The climb onto the Tor is worth the effort providing some wonderful views. Turn right on the steep path that leads upwards. At its end is the Lookout, with the best views of Bideford Bay. From the Lookout you can see the white Saunton Sands Hotel. The beach below it has starred on album covers (Pink Floyd) and in music videos (Robbie Williams). During WW2, over 10,000 American GIs trained for the D-Day invasion on Braunton Burrows (the dunes behind), which is now a designated UNESCO biosphere.
After taking in the view, retrace your footsteps down the hill and turn right on the first path. Follow the path across the top of the Tor. At the crossroads of paths, turn right and follow the path upwards through the trees and all the way up until you come to a metal gate at a road. Go straight across and follow the lane downwards.
You soon arrive at the Pig on The hill for well needed refreshment!